Sunday, December 17, 2006

A cup of Kenya, please

I’m down in Shropshire, visiting my Mum, Dad and Brother, and very nice it is, too. That’s why the blog’s been quiet, though. I'm eating croissant for breakfast, and drinking too much coffee. Excellent.

After two days of brother-related shopping (he asked me out to his Works Christmas party, but the proviso was that I went out and bought him something to wear at it.... And the second day was my assisting him to buy Mum and Husband their Christmas presents. I’m turning into my family’s lifestyle guru. The world is not ready for this...) we settled in to a good, raucous game of Black Twos, under the influence of Black Stump (delicious red wine, Mum’s fave) and variously Archers and Baileys.

I threatened them with the thrashing of their lives and then lost. Spectacularly.

I’m so proud.

Someone in comments (was it Sela?) asked about Kenya. I always feel a little hesitant about blogging about Kenya, because it was so special. It doesn’t seem as if words could do it justice. Sometime I do want to dig out my travel journal for the stay, and dip into that, but for now I’ll give you a taste.

I graduated in June 1995, and promptly went with a great friend, Annagh, to visit Carla, who lived in Kenya. We were supposed to go for a week or two, but flights being weird, ended up planning a six week break.

Without my journal, my memories are a mish-mash of bright images and impossibilities. I remember having a 24 hour stomach bug on the flight over, but looking out of the window and seeing waves on the sea… before realising we were flying over the Sahara and the ‘waves’ were dunes. I’ll never forget that sight. I wanted to say, “stop the plane, I’ll get off here!”

For all I love the Sahara, and write about it with the authority of research and my Dad’s reminiscences, the closest I’ve been is flying several thousand feet above it, in a BA flight to Nairobi.

I remember, too, waking up at Carla’s Grandmother’s town house (landing and disembarking late at night are a blur) and wandering into the garden. There were two chameleons fighting in stop-go-motion deliberation in a bush by the drive. I remember the Dorothy-esque, “you’re not in Essex anymore…” thought.

Then we drove through the Rift valley.

No, I can’t do justice to it.

I remember Kenya as huge, dramatic, colourful and dusty/muddy depending on how much rain there’d been… I remember sitting on a pile of mattresses in the back of a pickup, my purple and burgundy headscarf streaming behind me like a banner as we drove to the Masai Mara. The elephant that ate a tree yards from our tent, the giraffe who watched with boredom as we watched with amazement. I remember rolling in the mud-hole, and playing in the trees, discovering how fast we could move when our guide thought he saw lion, flying past Kilimanjaro, being thrown overboard in a mangrove swamp (by the South African cultural attache, no less) and shooing the monkeys out of the fruit bowl. I remember freezing the ants off the butter, and the soft plop of insects falling out of the reed-thatch hut roof.

Let me get home and find my travel journal. I’ll post some more.


At 2:37 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said...

Ohmigod. That sounds...I can't wait. Write more!

At 7:55 pm, Blogger Jessica Raymond said...

Mmm, I'd like to hear more too. You've already done it pretty good justice!

Jess x


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